§ Bill, as amended, considered.
§ Ordered, That Standing Orders Nos. 208, 224, and 248, be suspended in the case of the said Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ MR. ANDERSON
In rising to ask the House to support me in opposing the third reading of this Bill, I am aware that I am taking a course which is not a very common one, but at the same time it is a course not without precedent when the House has been satisfied that there was sufficient reason for it. As a general rule the House is anxious, no doubt, to support the decision of its Committees, as it very probably defers to the opinions of the Members who have sat upon those Committees, and who have thereby acquired abundant knowledge of the circumstances of the case; but I wish to submit that in this case, as far as the opinions of the Members 1901 of the House are concerned, the question is at present entirely undecided, and that it is for the House itself to decide, for it is no secret that the four Members of that Committee were equally divided in opinion as to the merits of the Bill, and the decision that was come to was arrived at solely by an alien vote. I have no great knowledge of the procedure in the Private Business that comes before the House, but I have learned that in 1868, by an Order of the House, certain officers of the House called Referees were incorporated with the Private Bill Committees—and although I have put the question to many old Members of the House, I have been unable to find one who was aware that those officers had both the right to consult with the Committee and to vote. However, I suppose it is in order that they should do so, seeing that the House ordered it; but I do not think it is a very wise argument that anyone not a Member of this House, and not having the same responsibility, should have a vote in the Committees of this House. I have no wish to cast the smallest slight on Sir John Duckworth, who was the Referee in question. I know nothing of him, and I am willing to believe any good of him. I only object to a system by which anyone not responsible to the House, and who cannot speak from these benches as to the reasons which induced him to come to a vote, should have a vote at all. That, however, raises a wider question than we can discuss today, and I shall now simply give the history of the present Bill. Some years ago, the city of Glasgow, desiring to have a fine pleasure park for its people, bought an estate a mile or two out of the city, and had it laid out as a park under the supervision of Sir Joseph Paxton. It was a place that was highly interesting in its historical associations, being the scene of the battle of Langside—Queen Mary's last fight—and the spot being rendered as beautiful as art and nature could make it, became consequently a great attraction to the citizens of Glasgow. But as far as Glasgow was concerned, this was rather prospective, as the place was somewhat distant from the city. Nevertheless, certain inhabitants of Glasgow began to build houses in the neighbourhood. When the Park was created, the place now called Cross-hill was merely green fields, and it has 1902 since come into existence solely through the creation of the Park. After a considerable number of houses had been built, the inhabitants had the place constituted into a police burgh. Several attempts have been made by Glasgow, very naturally, to extend its boundaries so as to include the Park and the small burgh of Crosshill. It was, I say, natural that Glasgow should wish to do this, seeing that the Crosshill people enjoyed all the benefits of the Park, while escaping all the taxation by which the Park was created and kept up. The fact is that Crosshill, in one sense, rests entirely upon Glasgow. It was Glasgow money and Glasgow people who built the houses at Crosshill; the inhabitants of Crosshill spend their days in Glasgow and earn their living there; and their sole reason for going out of Glasgow is simply to escape taxation, because the rates in Glasgow were necessarily high, Glasgow doing on a magnificent scale everything which causes rates to be high, while the rates of Crosshill are low, because she does nothing for herself, but hangs upon the city of Glasgow for everything. Crosshill has no police of her own, she has no fire brigade of her own, she has no hospitals of her own, she has no public buildings, no prisons, no parks of her own, while the streets are remarkable for bad paving and questionable drains. If a riot should break out at Crosshill, the Glasgow police must go there to quell it; if a fire breaks out at Crosshill, the Glasgow fire brigade must be sent there to put it out; if an epidemic fever breaks out, the Glasgow hospitals are had recourse to, and it is well known that within a few months an epidemic fever did break out, which was entirely caused by deficient drains, and on that occasion the Crosshill people did have recourse to the Glasgow hospitals. Crosshill has Glasgow water and Glasgow gas, and her very sewage makes its escape through Glasgow drains. It might be said that Glasgow might cut her off from all these things and thus compel her to come in; but she knows that Glasgow is too magnanimous to do that, and Crosshill prefers to ride rate-free, trusting to the hospitality and charity of Glasgow to protect her. But, Sir, reasonable as it would be to include Crosshill in Glasgow, that is not the question before the House just now. That question was shelved and 1903 decided by the Bill which Glasgow introduced having been rejected. The question we have now to consider is the extension that Crosshill herself proposes—namely, whether Crosshill is to make further encroachments on Glasgow, and to be allowed to take in a piece of ground called No-Man's-Land, which is about three times the area of Crosshill, which contains double her population, which does not belong to the same county as Crosshill, and which lies between her and Glasgow, so that if it were given to her it would cut Glasgow more than ever off from her own Park. When Glasgow brought in her Bill in 1872—for she has brought in several Bills to annex Crosshill—that one was defeated principally on political grounds, there being an idea that two Liberal seats might be lost if the Bill were carried. But on the present occasion, Glasgow having brought in a Bill simply to include her own Park, and Crosshill, and No-Man's-Land, and very little more, as a retaliatory measure Crosshill has brought in a Bill to incorporate No-Man's-Land. This Bill is called a defensive measure, but it is defence on the principle of "carrying the war into Africa," and it is this measure which the House has to consider to-day. Fully one-third of the ground is the actual property of Glasgow, and of one of the charities managed by the Corporation of Glasgow, the remainder of the ground belonging entirely to proprietors who wish to be united to Glasgow and not to Crosshill. The inhabitants are very much divided in their opinions. It is natural that many of them would wish to be joined to Crosshill because the Crosshill rates are low; but I have had some pressing letters myself from inhabitants of No-Man's-Land desiring very strongly to be annexed to Glasgow. I am quite satisfied that if the House makes the mistake of annexing it to Cross-hill the inhabitants of No-Man's-Land will have every reason to regret it when they find that they are saddled with the expense of this contest and are annexed to Crosshill, which can do nothing for them, except require them to pay higher rates than they would have to pay in Glasgow, which can do everything for them. These are the principal points which I have to touch upon in reference to this Bill. The only other point is the political aspect of the case, because that 1904 political aspect has been made a great deal of during the last few days. The hon. Baronet the Member for Lanarkshire (Sir Edward Colebrooke) and the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew-shire (Colonel Mure) seem to have some little fear as to the security of their seats. Now, I am very willing to admit that the loss of those hon. Members would be a great loss to the House and to the country. I should regret it very much myself from a Party point of view, and a great deal more from a personal point of view, because both of them are very good Friends of mine; but I am anxious to re-assure my hon. Friends that the question has really no political signification at all. Even if the Glasgow Extension Bill had been carried, it would have taken in a little piece of Renfrewshire, but it would not have affected the Parliamentary boundary of Glasgow. It would require a public Act to do that; and I think that under present circumstances, when there are much larger issues pending—such as household suffrage in counties and the redistribution of seats—there is not much fear that either the Government or a private Member would attempt to bring in a Bill to touch the question of Parliamentary boundary at all. The present Bill has no political bearing whatever, and it cannot be regarded as an attempt upon the part of Glasgow to take any part of Renfrewshire. That is a question that may be considered shelved and done for. On the other hand, it is an attempt on the part of Crosshill, a burgh of Renfrewshire, to go out of their own county and take a piece of Lanark-shire. One of the unfortunate effects of passing the Bill would be that all the people of No-Man's-Land when they got into trouble with the police would find themselves lugged off to Paisley, seven miles distant, instead of remaining in their own county as at present. I shall not detain the House longer, but will conclude by merely expressing a hope that the House will not affirm the principle which appears to be affirmed by the decision of the referee—namely, that a large city like Glasgow must not be allowed to extend her municipal boundary, but shall be penned in by all kinds of small petty burghs growing up round her, and that these petty burghs shall not be hampered but should be allowed to extend themselves in any way they please. 1905 That is a principle which it would be most damaging and dangerous to adopt in regard to large cities, and it is not one on which we have hitherto acted or have been accustomed to act. In the case of Rochdale quite lately it was allowed to extend its boundary even against the will of some of the inhabitants outside. Indeed, it would be very poor encouragement to cities like Glasgow to purchase estates and create fine parks for the enjoyment and health of their citizens, which they must necessarily do outside their own boundary, if they found that they were to be cut off by some trumpery place like Crosshill from the full enjoyment and possession of their own Park. I now beg to move that the Bill be read a third time on this day three months.
§ MR. WHITELAW
I believe it is a somewhat unusual course to move the rejection of a Bill like this on the third reading; but there are good grounds for doing so in this instance. That course has been taken by my hon. Colleague, who has gone minutely into all the arguments against the passing of this Bill, and I rise simply for the purpose of supporting his Motion. My hon. Colleague has called attention to the local position of matters, the small-ness of the population of Crosshill, and the comparatively large population to, be added to it, the larger area sought to be acquired, the different jurisdictions, and the fact that the district proposed to be taken belongs to another county. My hon. Colleague having gone completely into all the local points, I shall pass over much that I intended to say; it is necessary, however, to remark that the effect of passing this Bill would be to commit the House to the establishment of a precedent carrying out the principle that the overflow of a city population settling on the borders of the city should be constituted into small burghal communities, under the General Police Act rather than be added to the city. Hitherto a very different principle has been followed—for instance, in the case of Glasgow itself there have been added the burghs of Calton, Anderston, Gorbals, and Bridge-ton, and as recently as 1872 the city was enlarged by the incorporation of Spring burn and two other districts with a population of 12,000. The establishment of a new precedent would, it seems 1906 to me, be a very serious matter, and I believe that the House will be slow to adopt such a proposal after it has fully investigated and carefully considered the merits and demerits of the course it is now asked to commit itself to. In the interests of good local government I think the question should be settled; and I would ask the House if it is desirable that the great and important works of sanitary improvement, which are so strongly advocated in this case, should be left to be carried out by small burghs. I believe it is within the experience of all of us that small burghs do not carry out these great sanitary measures in a proper and efficient manner. There are Members of this House who have given much time to the study of questions of local government, Members who, as responsible Ministers, have had experience on the subject, and whose opinions are entitled to the greatest weight in the House. I would appeal to them for their opinion as to the comparative advantage of cities being extended so as to embrace their over-growing population, or of such population being grouped into small burghs completely encircling, it may be, the parent city. I would invite them to tell us what they think of this Bill, and whether they do not think it should be rejected, thereby enabling the House to avoid the adoption of a precedent which might prove embarrassing in future legislation. I would ask those Members who have taken great interest in the construction of sanitary measures whether they consider small burghs as likely as large ones to organize sanitary arrangements for the benefit of the population? Hon. Members will recollect that during the discussion of the Artizans Dwellings Bill it was often suggested that small places should be included, but that was successfully resisted, and only because of the belief the House had that the Governing Bodies of small places would not be strong enough or independent enough to set in motion the provisions of the Act. For the same reason, it was suggested in the discussion on the same Bill that the Bodies charged with the carrying out of the provisions thereof should be made stronger. The rejection of this Bill would not commit the House to any precedent, but will only leave matters as they have hitherto been. I 1907 trust that the House will not create a bad precedent by sanctioning the principle that will be involved in the passing of this measure—namely, that the overflowing population of a city had better be grouped in small burghs hedging in the city than that additions should be from time to time made to the parent city to embrace such population. I know that opinions do exist in favour of the establishment of small burghs and unfavourable to the extension of large ones; that, however, is not a prevalent opinion, and it is not the opinion of those who are best able to judge of what is for the interest of good government. Past experience of measures for the extension of cities exhibit some confusion of ideas on the subject. Sometimes the Bills have been passed, and sometimes they have been rejected. Considerable uncertainty prevails as to what would be the result of an application to Parliament for the purpose, and the consequence is that considerable expense has been incurred. The Government ought to be pressed to take up the matter of city extension, and to introduce a general measure, laying down principles which ought to be followed in such cases. The rejection of this Bill would not prejudice the prospects of such a measure, and for the reasons I have stated I cordially second the Motion of my hon. Colleague.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Anderson.)
§ MR. KNIGHT
, as Chairman of the Committee to which this Bill had been referred, wished to say a few words. The Committee sat for five weeks and examined 74 witnesses, and came to a very deliberate opinion. As the hon. Member for Glasgow had referred to it he might mention that the Committee consisted beside himself of three Members, one of whom—the hon. Member for Westmoreland—had had considerable experience—with Sir John Duckworth, the Referee. The Committee was equally divided in opinion. Sir John Duckworth did not give his reasons until the room was cleared in order that the Committee might consider the Report, and then he gave it as his reason that Glasgow had made out no case whatever. The question had been going on ever 1908 since 1868. Glasgow stood on seven square miles of ground, of which one-fifth was not built on. It had 530,000 inhabitants, and the Corporation was very anxious to annex 14 other square miles containing a population of 100,000. By an Act passed in 1862, these districts enjoyed complete self-government in every respect. At present they were small burghs, but they were growing rapidly into large ones. There were six of those burghs around Glasgow. Of course, the great object of those persons who lived round Glasgow was not to be included in the Glasgow rates. They wished that the money raised in their own localities should be spent by themselves for their own purposes. They had that great love of self-government which those of the Saxon race generally possessed. Now, the sanitary condition of Glasgow was the worst of any town in Scotland, Greenock excepted, and its death-rate had certainly not decreased. On the other hand, the death-rate was very light in the districts round Glasgow, their sanitary arrangements were very good and quite sufficient for the district. Now, if the inhabitants had any wish to join Glasgow they could do so by the general law of Scotland; but what Glasgow was seeking to do was to force them into her enormous municipality against their will. This was a principle which Parliament had repeatedly refused to sanction. It was not a new case which Parliament was called upon to consider. The decision of the present Committee was only confirmation of repeated decisions of Parliament. On the present occasion Glasgow had singled out a small place in the hope that, if successful, a precedent would be formed for dealing with the others. But the small section now attacked was defending itself in a very game way—and how it got the money to do so he could not conceive; but it was supported by the two counties of Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. The whole of the Commissioners of Supply came forward and in the strongest possible manner objected to the place being taken from the county in which it was. The only reason he could discover for Glasgow wishing to catch hold of these burghs, and that of Crosshill and No-Man's-Land in particular, was that they would immediately lexy a tax of £9,000 or £10,000 a-year—just the 1909 sum the Corporation spent yearly in Parliamentary contests. He wished to mention that in 1870 the House of Commons rejected, on the second reading, a Bill to annex the same district. In 1871 the Crosshill burgh was formed. The Corporation of Glasgow opposed the formation of the burgh, and they appealed to the Home Secretary, now Lord Aberdare. The Home Secretary rejected the appeal. In 1872 a Bill was brought in by the Corporation of Glasgow to annex a portion of the district, including Crosshill; but to avoid its being thrown out they withdrew a considerable part of it, and the Select Committee rejected all the Bill in the case of those inhabitants who objected to join Glasgow. In 1874 the Corporation promoted a Bill which, after very careful consideration, was thrown out. That Bill and the last Bill did not take in the whole sweep of 14 square miles—they wished now to get the principle sanctioned that one portion of it could be forced to join Glasgow against its will. He hoped however, the House would not allow Glasgow to make a precedent of the case, the only case he remembered of a Bill being thrown out in this way on the third reading was the Birmingham Drainage Bill; but this would establish a precedent most dangerous in relation to other places and other populations. One of the arguments used was that Crosshill was in two counties. Both Crosshill and Glasgow were alike as to that matter. Crosshill was in Renfrewshire, and the land it wished to annex was in Lanarkshire. Glasgow was in Lanarkshire, and it wanted to annex a piece of land in Renfrewshire. Cross-hill was on one side of a hill and No-Man's-Land was on the other. No-Man's-Land was not part of Glasgow, and the county line ran not through a lot of streets, but through houses. No-Man's-Land was separated from Glasgow by a mile and a-half of railway stations and buildings, and never could become a part of Glasgow, for the great block of buildings and railway stations would always he between it and the city. He again hoped that the House would pass the Bill.
§ MR. RALLI
Having had the honour of being a Member of the Committee which considered this Bill, I wish to explain the reasons which induced me to vote against it in Committee, and which 1910 will compel me to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Glasgow. We have heard a great deal of the desire of Glasgow to annex certain outlying districts, but very little has been said about the Bill before us, which has for its object the annexation not to Glasgow but to the small burgh of Crosshill, a district in Renfrewshire covering 80 acres, and containing 3,500 inhabitants; of another district of 216 acres in Lanarkshire, containing 6,000 inhabitants, which lies between Crosshill and Glasgow. Looking at the matter as it stands, it seems to me that if this district is to be annexed to either Glasgow or Crosshill, it should naturally gravitate to the larger area, and not to the smaller one. But there is this objection, that the inhabitants wish for annexation, not to Glasgow but to Crosshill. There are four reasons given for this. The first, which is that mentioned by the hon. Member for Worcestershire (Mr. Knight), though it was not brought forward in evidence by the people of the district themselves, is, that the death-rate in Glasgow is so high that it would be very cruel to throw any new district within that death-rate. But with all deference for the decrees of the House of Commons, I am certain that the drawing of an imaginary line will not prevent epidemic disease from spreading beyond it; in fact, I believe the contrary result will follow, because while you may—and if you pass this Bill you certainly will—stop the sanitary staff of Glasgow from going beyond their own boundary, you cannot stop the steps of a fever, and thus you will leave this district exposed to the dangers inseparable from the vicinity of a great city, without the protection afforded by the sanitary staff of that city. The second reason is, that this district is separated from Glasgow by railway stations and public works; but it surely would not be argued that because Euston and King's Cross and St. Pan-eras stations cut off a certain portion of London from the rest, that therefore the part cut off should be formed into a separate city. The third reason why this district does not wish for annexation to Glasgow is, that if thrown into Glasgow as an outlying portion of the city, they believe they would not be properly cared for by the municipality, as the Town Council beautifies the centre of the city and neglects the outlying districts; 1911 not one tittle of evidence however was brought forward to show that the city has neglected its duties in any part of its jurisdiction. The fourth and real reason why these persons, inhabiting No Man's Land, desire annexation to Cross-hill and not to Glasgow is, that they say the rates of Crosshill are 10d. in the pound, while those of Glasgow are 2s. 7½d.; that is the real reason for this Bill. When I inquire into the reason of this great difference I find that the burgh of Crosshill is a collection of villas, principally inhabited by well-to-do and order-abiding people. What is the consequence? Why, that the police, although sufficient for Crosshill, consists of three constables. There is not even a lock-up nearer than a mile and a-half, at Pollokshaws. The sanitary arrangements are so bad, that when lately there was an epidemic of typhoid fever, there being no hospital in Crosshill, the patients had to be sent to Glasgow. The fire appliances are good enough, I suppose, if the people are satisfied with them; but they are not sufficient to put out a great fire, and we heard great complaints of the danger which the people are exposed to from the insufficient precautions against fire. If this Bill is passed what will happen? A district which fairly belongs to Glasgow—for this is no attempt on the part of Glasgow to invade Crosshill, it is an attempt on the part of Crosshill to invade Glasgow—will be added to this collection of villas, a district wanting more police, certainly a lock-up, hospitals, and everything else which is required for an urban population like this in No Man's Land, and in a few years the rates of the newly created or increased burgh will be equal to, if not heavier, than those of Glasgow. Even supposing they did remain less, which I cannot believe, then I say that this Bill is simply an attempt on the part of a portion of the inhabitants of Glasgow to shake off the the burdens which they ought in justice to the rest of the city to share. I remember that within the last few years this House has passed measures of the greatest justice, which have forced the richer portions of cities to bear their fair proportion of the burdens of the poorer, and I hope the House will not say that the richer inhabitants of Glasgow are to be allowed to share the benefits of the city, and then to shake off its burdens. We 1912 have been told that it is an almost unprecedented thing to move the rejection of a Bill which has been passed by a Committee, but it is also an unprecedented thing for a small burgh to try and extend itself into another county at the expense of a great neighbouring city. If the Corporation of Glasgow had neglected their duties, or mismanaged their finances, I would say in a moment—"Set up another authority;" but what does the evidence prove? Why, that in the management of their municipal affairs they have done great things, and they mean to do more, if they are allowed to be free. Their police arrangements are quite satisfactory. They have founded parks and picture galleries for the benefit and instruction of the people, and they have done even more to earn the gratitude of the community, for they have cleared away the rookeries which formerly disgraced the centre of the town, and have built better and more healthy buildings for the working classes. If this Bill is carried, it will be a precedent for surrounding a great city with a cordon of petty burghs, which will conflict and compete with it in every possible manner, thwart its attempts at reform, and stifle its development in every direction. You will have a repetition in Glasgow of what exists in London—namely, the centre of the city will be governed by one authority, and the out-lying portions by other and often conflicting bodies. These are the reasons which induce me to vote against the passing of the Bill in Committee. First, because it is a selfish attempt of a portion of the city to escape from the burdens which they ought to bear; and, secondly, because I think the Corporation of Glasgow by their conduct in past times have justified the appeal they now make to this House not to be saddled by conflicting and competing authorities at their very gates.
§ MR. W. LOWTHER
said, that when the time came that Crosshill wanted more police, a hospital, and so forth, Crosshill would be perfectly ready to pay for them: but the district would rather not be included in Glasgow, where the rates were very high, and where the new ratepayers would have little or no voice in the way in which the money was disposed of. The hon. Member had said that they would be establishing a dangerous precedent if 1913 they decided that Crosshill was not to be absorbed by Glasgow. It seemed to him (Mr. Lowther) that it would be still more dangerous to allow a great town like Glasgow to absorb all the outlying districts—that merely because it was a large and powerful Corporation it should be allowed to take whatever it pleased. The hon. Member for Glasgow said that the county of Renfrew took no part with regard to the Glasgow Bill. [Mr. ANDERSON: I did not say so.] He so understood. However, the fact was that part of the county of Renfrew was very willing and anxious to be annexed to Crosshill, but particularly objected to be annexed to Glasgow. Of course when a Private Bill was referred to a Committee, the decision must please one party and displease the other; but would the House allow the decision of the Committee to be set on one side—a Committee which sat from the 8th of May to the 8th of June, which never stopped or interfered with any witness, or checked any of the witnesses on both sides—in order to gratify this great and powerful town. The Members of the Committee did not consult each other, and only within the last day or two he knew the decision to which they were likely to come—that the majority had decided that Glasgow had not proved its case. He hoped the House would come to a unanimous decision not to override the decision of the Committee.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he should decline to enter into the general question as to the merit of the Bill—that question had been fairly fought in the Committee, and other Gentlemen had given the House reason for the decision they had come to. What he wished to point out was this—that all the principal arguments they had heard in this debate ought to have been raised on the second reading. Why were they not raised then? It had been said that the decision of the Committee was not unanimous; but the inquiry was of the nature of an arbitration, and was there ever an arbitration in which provision was not made for difference of opinion? In this case the casting vote of the Referee had been referred to. He had sat in Parliament for years with Sir John Duckworth, and he knew no man whose opinion was entitled to more weight. He could safely trust the case there. But there was another tribunal 1914 to which to appeal. He had heard some Gentlemen propose to enter into the question whether small areas for boroughs were good from a sanitary point of view. Let those gentlemen take their evidence before the House of Lords, instead of adopting the unusual course of attempting to throw out a Bill by a canvass in the Lobby. Upon every principle of fairness, the City of Glasgow was bound by the decision of the tribunal to which it had appealed. As to the question of the expediency of establishing these small boroughs, he would remind the House that Glasgow had already brought in two Bills, the former of which was defeated, and the other, which included a large proportion of the areas named in the present Bill was also rejected, the House deciding that the question was one which ought to be raised in a general Act, and not by a private Bill. With regard to the history of the burgh of Crosshill it was very short. If it had been all in one county, the House would have heard nothing about it, but in consequence of the county boundary running straight through it, and inconvenience resulting in respect to the Sheriff Court, Crosshill appealed to the Lord Advocate of the day, and a Bill was introduced to remedy the inconvenience. That was opposed by Glasgow, and thrown out; but subsequently Crosshill brought in its Bill, and Glasgow its Bill, and the two were referred to the same Committee, and by the decision of that Committee they ought to abide. He thought it was monstrous, after what had taken place, that the city should now come forward and challenge the decision of the Committee to which the decision of the question had been referred. He appealed to hon. Gentlemen who had ever taken part in our Private Bill legislation to take a stand in support of the tribunal of Select Committees, and he appealed to the House whether it was not impugning that tribunal by calling in question the Bill itself.
§ COLONEL MURE
would ask the House one question—was the general body of the House better informed about No Man's Land, Crosshill, and Glasgow than they were when they came into the House? Looking at the number of days the subject occupied the Committee, would not the House agree with him that it would be absolutely absurd to 1915 enter into a detailed discussion? That being so, would it not be monstrous and absurd for the House to upset the decision of the Committee on the ex parte statement of the hon. Member for Glasgow? The real knowledge on this question rested with the Committee, and with the Referee. They had conducted a judicial inquiry, and had come to a judicial conclusion; was it right that that decision should be set aside in the House by a number of Members who had been pressed into the service by a system of lobbying?
§ MR. MARLING
, who had been a Member of the Committee, said, the question was one of no slight importance—namely, whether our great cities should be governed from one central authority, or hemmed in by small municipalities interfering with their free and deliberate action. A Royal Commission was issued in 1835 on the subject of these burghs; and their Report strongly recommended a simplification of the system, so as to avoid conflict of jurisdiction, multiplication of office-bearers, and petty local jealousies. The effect of the evidence before the Committee upon his mind was that Glasgow was in much the better position to govern the disputed district of No-Man's-Land than Crosshill could possibly be. Crosshill was being rapidly built over, and would shortly become a most important part of the City of Glasgow, and although the rates of Crosshill were now somewhat lower, yet if the land was annexed to Crosshill and the burgh well-governed, the rates would soon be as high as they were in Glasgow. Many of the evils from which Glasgow had suffered had arisen from the fact that up to 1846 it consisted of a community of small burghs. The Act of 1846 brought them all into one body, and Glasgow had since greatly improved. The suburbs in question belonged to Glasgow. At the time when the present boundaries of the city were formed, the population was only 200,000—now the number was 600,000. Was it reasonable to suppose that the boundaries which would suit 200,000 would suit 600,000? On those grounds he voted for the Glasgow Bill and against the Crosshill Bill in the Committee, and he trusted that the House, as umpire of all such Committees would confirm the principle he had referred to.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, considering the importance that was claimed for the reasons urged against the Bill, it was to be regretted that the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) did not bring them before the House earlier. If the question had been discussed on the second reading, the House could then have decided between the Glasgow and Crosshill Bills, and would have been spared a discussion which seemed to him a little out of date. He regretted that the hon. Member for Glasgow, in his natural anxiety to press his case on the House, should have sought to impugn the authority of the Committee by using expressions which might seem to be disrespectful to a most accomplished Gentleman, who was greatly respected by all parties and whose services to that House in his capacity of Referee could not possibly be overrated.
§ MR. ANDERSON
I entirely disclaimed, at the time I spoke, any slight whatever on Sir John Duckworth.
§ MR. RAIKES
said, the hon. Member's remark might be thought disrespectful by others. With all respect to the Members of the Committee, the opinion of Sir John Duckworth would weigh very much more with him (Mr. Raikes) than that of any other person who had considered the question. They had been told that the Bill raised the question of municipal government in its larger sense, and that it was a conflict between a large burgh being allowed to extend itself and small burghs being allowed to be formed and to extend themselves. That question was decided by the Act of 1872, which provided for the formation of small burghs, and which also contemplated the fact that these places might exist in two conterminous counties. Where the place was situated in one county, the Sheriff had power to fix the boundaries, and this had been done in the case of Crosshill. Now Crosshill applied to have its boundaries so extended as to include a part of land which might have been included in the first instance. He thought the question to-day had been argued too much on the point whether Crosshill should be allowed to exist or not. Even if they threw out this Bill, Crosshill would continue to have a separate existence, and so would many other burghs on the outskirts of Glasgow. If Glasgow objected to the existence of these burghs, he submitted it should 1917 raise the question on some broad general principle, and not on a part of the question only. It was to be remembered that Glasgow in 1870 came to the House of Commons with an extension Bill, which was rejected on the second reading; and again in 1872 they came with a plan for the absorption of several of these small burghs, but all were struck out except Spring burn, which was willing to be incorporated. It was also to be remembered that the Committee threw out the Glasgow Bill this year, as Committees had done twice before, and it would have been most inconsistent and illogical of them, after doing that, not to have passed the Crosshill Bill, and if they had refrained from passing it, it would have been open to the House to remit it back to them for their re-consideration. He hoped the House would discriminate between the two questions, and not allow themselves to be led away from the real issue by the turn the debate had taken. He would consider it his duty to vote for the third reading.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, the question before the House was simple and intelligible to all minds—it was whether they should support the decision of this Committee, or should reverse it. He knew nothing, and like most other Members, he cared nothing, as to the merits of the case as between Crosshill and Glasgow; but there used to be a system of canvassing and lobbying carried on with respect to Private Bills. The House was determined if possible to stop it, and with that view they diminished the numbers of their Committees, and increased their responsibilities, and they also appointed a Referee in order that the Committees might have the guidance and assistance of a nominal Chairman who was well versed in Parliamentary business, and who would be a sort of guarantee to the House that the decisions of these Committees had been impartial and not contrary to Parliamentary precedent. Now this Committee had sat for five weeks and had examined a great many witnesses; a large expenditure had been incurred, and the Committee had come to a decision in regard to the question on which the House at large had no opinion and no knowledge. Should they set a-side that Committee and allow a judicial decision to be overturned and thwarted by private solicitation? He regretted that the whole Morning Sitting was being 1918 taken up with the re-hearing and re-judging of a question which had already been heard and decided by a tribunal capable of dealing with it, and he hoped the House would now decide the simple question whether or not they had confidence in their Committee.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 202; Noes 94: Majority 108.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.